New York City Tourism + Conventions, formerly known as NYC & Company, has announced the hiring of Christopher Thompson as its new director of sports and big events. Thompson will oversee and support the promotion of sports and big events within the organization that drives visitation to New York City’s five boroughs.
New York City Tourism + Conventions formally managed the Mayors Club and has supported many previous sporting events in the city, including the Super Bowl, WrestleMania, Formula E and annual events such as the U.S. Open and New York City Marathon. It will also host World Cup Games in 2026 and is hoping to be chosen as the destination that hosts the championship match.
Where did you work previously?
CT: I worked at Destination DC as their senior manager, sports development, for the past six years. While there, I promoted Washington as a premier sports and special events destination for professional, international, collegiate, youth, and amateur sporting events and festivals to drive room nights and economic development to DC.
What about this new position excites you the most?
CT: Being able to promote the nation’s capital as a sports and events destination was such an honor and privilege and I am now so excited to do that for New York City. NYC is one of the world’s premier travel destinations, a global media capital and backdrop for major events. I am excited to take what I learned in DC and help grow all the great things that NYC has already been able to do. The opportunities are endless in NYC when it comes to what we can host here, so I am excited to see what can be done.
What about the position will be the most challenging aspect?
CT: I think the most challenging aspect will be understanding which events are the best fits for NYC and how we can be creative to get certain events here that maybe are not used to being in a market like NYC.
Does going from a large city like DC help with the transition to the biggest city in the country?
CT: Working in a market like DC definitely helped and prepared me to work in NYC. Both markets are set up similarly when it comes to the type of facilities and venues we have to offer clients. Both also require working and partnering with city and government agencies to help make the event a success. A lot of the groups and organizations that I was fortunate to work with and help bring to DC have a history in NYC and want to be here too.
What goals do you have for the organization, both short term and long term?
CT: In the short term I want to do everything possible to help the NY/NJ host committee in their bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup Finals. They have put together an amazing bid and I look forward to seeing what the World Cup brings to the NYC/NJ area in 2026. In the long term, I want to continue to grow the relationships we have with all our professional teams, venues, and annual events such as the historic U.S. Open and NYC Marathon, two of the top events in their respective sports. NYC is so fortunate to have multiple professional teams in all major sports with iconic venues. I want to continue to work with them to understand what their goals are and how we can partner together to bring top of the line events to NYC.
What role will you have in major NYC events such as the annual Marathon, planning for 2026 World Cup, etc.?
CT: My role with major NYC events is to work with the organizers to help guide the event organizers via out of home, digital and social support, along with destination services and hotel support. Our team wants to do everything possible to properly market the event through all of our channels, use city assets to market events and make it known all throughout NYC and be a liaison to the hospitality community for these event organizers. For 2026 World Cup planning, we want to be an asset to the NY/NJ host committee to help in any way possible in bringing the finals to our area. The committee has already done an amazing job, so I just want to continue to add to and support what has already been accomplished.
Are there other major international events that you will work to get in NYC?
CT: There are a lot of international events that I am looking forward to having the opportunity to work to get to NYC. NYC has such a strong presence in international residences, visitors and with our major airports provides an ease of access to get here, making us a great host city. As already mentioned, the FIFA World Cup and the Men’s and Women’s Rugby World Cup. Other international events include cricket and the Ryder Cup in 2025.
What events beyond the “spotlight” ones is NYC working to target?
CT: NYC has a strong history in hosting premier events, such as the Super Bowl, U.S. Open, NYC Marathon and the NFL Draft for the longest time. I am looking forward to working with all our college basketball partners in the Big East, Big Ten, ACC and A10 with their conference championship tournaments and the NCAA with March Madness. NYC will always be a destination organizers are going to want to bring their marquee events to, and I am really looking forward to being a part in making that a reality. As I get further into this role and learn more about what NYC has hosted and maybe hasn’t considered hosting, I would love to see what major youth sporting events can be hosted here.